Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Arizona-California District


Committed to God, committed to each other and committed to sharing the saving Gospel, the first missionaries from the WELS entered Apacheland in 1893. The Arizona-California District hasn’t looked back since. We are committed to reaching out to the people of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and West Texas. We are committed to building up believers already gathered around the pure Word of God at our WELS churches and schools.

Numbering over 23,000 souls in 110 congregations, the Arizona-California District has had an impact far beyond its numbers. She has shared the workers who have served her and the sons and daughters she has borne as pastors, teachers and faithful laymen throughout our nation and world, and as professors in our synodical schools, college and seminary.

A historic leader in mission work grounded in the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions, the Arizona-California District retains the same commitment to God and each other as the first missionaries had when they set up their tents in Apacheland. We are blessed to call this land our home and invite you to learn more about us.


Areas of Ministry


The Commission on Evangelism exists to assist congregations to seize every opportunity the Lord provides to evangelize lost souls. Our service to WELS is to develop and promote evangelism resources that faithfully proclaim the truth of Scripture to the lost; to promote evangelism attitudes, structures, and programs consistent with Christian doctrine and the situation into which God has called a church, its pastors, and its people; and to promote the “equipping of the saints” for organized congregational evangelism and individual Christian witness.

Special Ministries

WELS Special Ministries serves people who are physically, mentally, or emotionally in need of special consideration in regard to their ability to learn, worship, and participate in local ministries and everyday living situations. We also serve thousands of people who are away from their church home, such as military personnel, people living overseas, and those in prison or some other institution.

Lutheran schools

The mission of the Commission on Lutheran Schools (CLS) is “to guide and assist congregations in advancing the gospel of Jesus by providing resources, training, and personal assistance for starting and strengthening Lutheran schools.” It is with these two statements in mind that the CLS works to assist our synod’s early childhood ministries, Lutheran elementary schools, area Lutheran high schools (ALHS), and preparatory schools. The CLS helps our congregations and schools welcome children and young adults into the Savior’s waiting arms through our schools outreaching and nurturing ministries.


The Commission on Worship exists to help parishes in their central activity of worship that glorifies God and strengthens his people. Worship is the heart of all parish life, the time when the greatest number of members gathers to proclaim the gospel and receive God’s life-giving power in Word and sacrament.


A 2018 consolidation of Adult Discipleship and Youth and Family Ministry united two commissions with a single mission:  to provide resources, encouragement and training to assist congregations as they seek to strengthen individuals and families in their connection to Christ and their ongoing walk of faith.

Because discipleship encompasses all of Christian life, WELS Discipleship exists to produce gospel-centered resources for all members of the Christian family, aiding them to fulfill and serve in their unique callings:  men and women, youth, college-age and young adults, singles, parents, spouses, Sunday school leaders, etc.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
— 1 Corinthians 15